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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

A quick question about floortime please? is it behavioural based therapy or pshychology type or else?

(14 Posts)
mysonben Tue 03-Nov-09 17:07:46


Davros Tue 03-Nov-09 17:57:50

It is not a behavioural method. Other than that, I can't remember much from the years ago when I read Greenspan's book.

mysonben Tue 03-Nov-09 23:15:06

Ok. I've got the book but can't seem to find anything that says what the theory is behind Floortime ...hmm
All i find is that it is play based.

linglette Wed 04-Nov-09 09:25:39

As I understand it, his great belief is that exercises should be done within the context of spontaneous joyful non-judgmental interaction (ie the way a grandmother who didn't know about the SN but who was just naturally good at tuning in would do it) because he thinks that autism is about a mismatch between your emotions and your actions - and so he always wants to interlink actions with the emotions behind them. His "theory" is that if a child is missing some of the early foundational milestones of development, then an adult needs to sit down every day and do disguised exercises to help that child firm up on that milestone. So if he sees a grandma who is the only person who can get a response out of a toddler, he studies her, figures out what she's done to tune in to that child's sensory preferences, and writes about her in his book.

Refreshingly simple - which is a good job as Greenspan's prose style is not exactly pellucid.

Now Moondog's lot (the ABA crowd) would say "no! look, for lots of kids this just isn't working, so just start getting them to do the desired behaviour, and gradually the brain will rewire itself until that behaviour feels like a natural way to express emotions. Tick off each day on a calendar and it will eventually dawn on you that you can predict how many days there are until your birthday.

Imagine if all NT children could instinctively play the piano by 4. The ABA crowd would help the SN children who were struggling by getting them to play the right note at the right time, with a view that eventually the children would come to feel the emotional and logical "pull" of the music. Greenspan say that you shouldn't be practising the notes of a piece until you can feel the musical emotions behind it, otherwise you'll end up being able to play your Grade 5 piece but without having a clue whether it's a happy piece or a sad piece.

I get lots from Moondog's views and lots from Greenspan.

PeachyInCarnivalFeathers Wed 04-Nov-09 09:33:11

Ah I'm reading about this atm.

From what I can pick up, ABA / TEACCH is behaviour focussed and floortime (DIR) is more about the wholedevelopmentalpotential of the child; they both have their merits i think.

The text on it is Engaging Autism,Stanley Greenspan. I'm not sure I think I agree with him on some things ((just saying autism isn't X its Y if you change the criteria to Z....well of course it would be; but autism is what we define as fitting the DSM and ICD,technically anyway).

But I am very literal indeed as a person.

But i thought i would read with a distince hmm,whereas atm I'm getting interested (stillearly on).

Seems to me that therapy utopia is soemwhere between the two variants: ABA for approached to damaging or traumatising behaviours, DIR more generally.

here of course they offer TEACCH,which seems to fall on nobodies ideallist except the diagnosing Psych.

thederkinsdame Wed 04-Nov-09 10:01:02

mysonben - I've just done a floortime course - the P.L.A.Y project in Tower Hamlets. Cost £20 for the day and was run by one of Greenspan's associates, Richard Solomon. It was fab, gave us lots of resources and ideas and lots of handouts. I would thoroughly reccomend it, even for parents who have very HFA children.

There was lots of interesting stuf on the latest research into autism, too. I don't know when teh next one's on, but they have signed me up to their e-mail notifications, so if I hear of one coming up, I'll posit it on here.

I've been using the methods with our DS for a few weeks now, and he is blossoming :-)

saintlydamemrsturnip Wed 04-Nov-09 10:20:37

It's developmental.

With attention paid to sensory development.

It also considers that development takes place via back and forth interactions, so you encourage those.

Stuart Shanker published a paper in Theory and Psychology in 2004 called 'the roots of mindblindness' which sets out quite a bit of the theory in a few pages.

grumpyoldeeyore Wed 04-Nov-09 11:13:02

Its developmental in that it aims to follow the same steps as a typical child, whilst recognising that ASD kids will be behind on these milestones. So its looking at emotional / social milestones rather than academic ones or motor ones. So step 1 is an ability to regulate oneself and be calm and share attention with others. So most newborn babies will learn to do this within 3 months but ASD kids with sensory issues could take years. So Greenspan says until the child can regulate their senses they can't enjoy interactions properly. Stage 2 is engagement and relating ie an ability to form attachments to others. Stage 3 2 way communication (not necessarily with words) so initiating etc moving on to longer back and forth communications, then onto levels 4 -6: language, problem solving, imaginative play, more abstract ideas etc. Greenspan thinks without the ability to be social and enjoy being with others then there is always something missing - you can rote learn the skills but won't have the desire to be social and enjoy the world. Children can cross levels ie might ignore their parent most of the time (ie not conquered level 2) but be able to speak (level 4 skill). So you play at the level they have not mastered, so would work on just simple to and fro interactions.

The difference is ABA is adult led / directed; whilst Floortime tries to follow the child's lead. I think this is hard to do without training / coaching unless you have a child who is quite engaged to start with. But you would start by just playing alongside or by obstructing the child eg if they like opening and shutting doors you would get on the way of the door. Levels 1-3 focus on sensory motor play eg rough and tumble, swinging games etc to get the child to enjoy being with others and Greenspan thinks that when this social link is established that the brain then is able to move on to develop more complex skills.

With ABA you'd teach a sort of script for play eg we got DS to copy us moving a car back and forth. Then when he had mastered that we added a sound so he had to move the car and go brum brum. Now we play on the floor using these concepts. The idea is these skills will become ingrained and he'll use them spontaneously eg at nursery and eventually with other children. So its quite artificial. With Floortime we'd be concentrating on sensory play doing things he liked and we'd only play with cars if that was something he chose.

Until I started ABA I bought into the idea that ABA would give DS skills but the social bit would be missing and that we'd have to do a Floortime sort of approach ourselves to work on this as well, but this has not been our experience. In fact ABA has made DS much more social. So at nursery he used to sit by himself or tolerate brief adult interaction but now he follows the staff around and insists on their attention and that change was within a few weeks of starting ABA. Within ABA DS will also ask much more now for social rewards (a hug or tickle) rather than tangible ones (a toy) and if we get a nice interaction going with a fun tickle game or something then we just break off from ABA and go with it. ABA is much better at pushing the natural play situations and working on social skills earlier now than a few years back and every skill we are looking to take into everyday life asap. I think ABA gave us a structure of how to spend time with DS whereas previously it just seemed like hours and hours stretching out before us where I could engage DS for just small snippets. Now DS has an expectation he will have lots of intensive 1:1 time and although it is skills eg imitating, listening, he enjoys it and enjoys the attention and being with us and I think that has spilled over into making him easier to play with outside formal ABA time. So for us the ABA skills have opened a door which means that we now have better quality "Greenspan" type interactions outside ABA and DS is less aimless and better at playing with toys etc. If we had just done Floortime I'm not sure we'd have seen that kind of progress that quickly. But definitely we use Greenspan type play as well.

For academics, teaching living skills (dressing, toileting) and working on speech ABA seems the obvious choice for us. I think you'd need to add a formal teaching method of some kind to Floortime to teach these skills.

Pivotal Response Therapy (Koegal) is ABA based but child led and from what I have read seems like a mixture of the two and claim very good outcomes.

mysonben Wed 04-Nov-09 15:00:11

Thank you for replies.

It's a bit clearer now.
The book is interesting but i find it a bit 'heavy' at times, and i don't get the meaning of eveerything....blush

linglette Wed 04-Nov-09 20:19:30

He's supposed to be a wonderful wonderful doctor but he's not going to win any awards for his prose style.

Wouldn't it be great if the amazing Hanen editorial team would come and work up his ideas into their clear style?

mysonben Wed 04-Nov-09 21:35:26

Yes Linglette, that would be something if they did.
I like the way he 'sees' asd, his way of thinking isn't all doom and dreary.

linglette Wed 04-Nov-09 21:57:40

exactly, I love his comment about "who cares if they only get "why" questions at 4.6 so long as the foundations are solid?"

love that man.

saintlydamemrsturnip Thu 05-Nov-09 09:20:12

Greenspan himself says you need something other than floortime to work on speech etc.

I have just started comparing ABA Floortime and RDI interactions. V. Interesting indeed so far.

linglette Fri 06-Nov-09 08:48:55

good point - very easy to forget.

I tend to rely on moondog (ie an ABA person) for more specific "how do I achieve X?" tasks

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